Reuters breaks American Heart Association embargo, loses press access
This morning, the American Heart Association (AHA) sent out a release saying that Reuters had broken an embargo. The story in question was about new results from CREST (the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy Versus Stenting Trial), finding that stents and surgery both prevent strokes.
The study was embargoed until 8:30 Eastern Central, but was posted to Reuters.com at 7:47 Eastern (6:47 Central).
Later, I got a message from Carrie Thacker, the AHA’s director of corporate and media communications:
As a result of this embargo break, all Reuters reporters will be eliminated from our media distribution list, they will no longer have access to our embargoed newsroom where they can have access to our embargoed journal articles and we will not provide any interviews to any Reuters reporters for a period of 6 months. These sanctions will apply to the reporter who broke the embargo for a period of one year.
Unfortunately, Reuters has broken our embargoes before so as you can imagine I have some very angry reporters who wanted to post their story early this morning but we wouldn’t let them due to the embargo. We will also be notifying Reuters management and other Reuters reporters of the situation so they aware of why we are doing this. This is an unfortunate situation and we certainly don’t like being put in this situation, but if we don’t uphold our embargo policies, others will think they can break them as well.
Given all of the conflicts here — writing about my colleagues, and being subject to these sanctions myself as part of Reuters — I’m not going to offer further comment on this. Thanks for understanding.
[UPDATED 2-28-10, 3:11 Eastern. The study was embargoed until an hour later than I originally reported in the second paragraph, so the story was posted an hour and 43 minutes before embargo, not 43 minutes. Thanks to an eagle-eyed Embargo Watch reader for pointing out this error.]